Police to start wearing body cameras from Friday

Officers from Bukit Merah West Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) will be the first to don body-worn cameras, starting Friday. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
Officers from Bukit Merah West Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) will be the first to don body-worn cameras, starting Friday. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - Officers from Bukit Merah West Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) will be the first to don body-worn cameras, starting Friday.

Providing more details on body-worn cameras during its annual crime statistics announcement on Thursday, the police said the devices will be in use at all 35 NPCs by June next year.

The cameras are part of the Police's plan to enhance frontline crime fighting capabilities, and are being tested by the Hong Kong Police Force and the United Kingdom's Metropolitan Police Service.

They can capture audio and video and will be worn in a visible manner on the front of an officer's uniform.

The cameras will be switched on and in recording mode when police officers are performing their duties.

Officers will have the discretion to stop recording in certain situations, for example, when dealing with victims of sexual offences.

Police said strict safeguards and limits are in place on the use of the camera footage, which will be deleted after 31 days from the date of recording unless it is required to aid police in its investigations.

"The body-worn camera will facilitate police investigations and the gathering of evidence. It will complement existing forensic methods to allow the police to piece together what actually happened at an incident.

"The body-worn camera is part of the SPF's technology roadmap to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of policing in Singapore for a safe and secure home for all of us," said deputy commissioner of police (operations) Lau Peet Meng.

By June this year, five other NPCs - Ang Mo Kio North NPC, Bedok South NPC, Bukit Merah East NPC, Jurong West NPC and Toa Payoh NPC - will don the cameras.

joycel@sph.com.sg